This Has Made Me Just A Little Bit Angry Too

Atos misled the government in securing its disability assessment contract

The Labour party has called for an investigation into how ATOS were awarded the government contract to perform disability assessments.  It is alleged that that ATOS  secured a contract which included using the names of disabled people’s user-led organisations (DPULOs), without, at the very least, first checking with those organisations.  On their tendering documents they apparently included the name of Disability Cornwall without having the courtesy of even asking them first.

It seems to me that ATOS are behaving just a little bit heavy handed.  It appears that they were so intent on securing this lucrative government contract that Fair Play went out the window.  It also appears that nobody from HMG bothered to check the claims made on the tendering documents.  If this is indeed true that would be obtaining a Pecuniary Advantage wouldn’t it?

The Department for Work and Pensions have made it clear the successful Pip (personal independence payment) contracts assessment bids had “demonstrated strong evidence… of close working with disabled people’s representative groups”. If Atos were serious in the approach to their work in this area then they would have already been speaking to these disabled people’s representative groups during the preparation of their bid.

You can CLAIM all sorts of things, doesn’t mean it’s accurate.

ATOS have then progressed to conducting medical assessments on soldiers who have had their legs blown off and declared them fit for work for example.

THE  story of a former marine who lost his benefits despite having a false leg is just one of a number that have shocked politicians.  ATOS called him in for one of their “fit for work” assessments.

During the test, a nurse asked him to point to his right foot. He told them he didn’t have one.

They asked him to wiggle the toes on his right foot. He told them he didn’t have any.

Four days later, he was told his disability living allowance was being stopped as he was fit for work.

Reporters have gone undercover and discovered bizarre criteria. Oral chemotherapy doesn’t get points, but intravenous chemotherapy does. A BBC Panorama investigation revealed that a man who had been detained under the Mental Health Act was deemed fit for work.

The company says that its staff – nurses, doctors and physiotherapists – simply apply the government tests.  The statistics, sadly, speak for themselves. A third of all appeals against the assessments are successful. Even more worrying is that the success rate of appeals increases if the Citizens Advice Bureau is involved, implying that even more appeals would be won if everyone who appealed had proper representation.

Whether the fault lies with ATOS for the way it administers the tests or the Government for the way it has designed them, they do not seem to be fit for purpose. The tests and criteria used must be open to scrutiny by researchers and academics, so that their effectiveness can be monitored, just as is expected of other tests administered in medicine.

On top of all of this ATOS is a bloody FRENCH company, not even outsourced to a UK company.

Not only is this another own-goal for outsourcing, on a simple, humanitarian level it is a national disgrace.

With Tom Winsor’s Independent Review due to come into force soon, and I seriously doubt that it won’t, this is clearly the sort of treatment you can expect from our caring, sharing government if you are unfortunate enough to be medically discharged.

And this is why I am angry today.

What do you call a Police Authority without a Chief Exec?

Well, apparently the answer is a Police and Crime Commissioner.

I have to admit that I got caught napping a little bit by this one.  I have been scratching my poor old swede and pulling the sad remains of my hair out for weeks trying to work out how on earth a PCC was going to take on all the responsibilities of a fully fledged Police Authority.

I presume that the staff who do all the work have been retained and will be TUPE’d across to the PCC’s office.  That leaves the Members of the Police Authority.  Would I be right in thinking that they and the Chief Exec are all gone?  Replaced by the solitary PCC?

PCC’s salary?  I’ve heard various estimates of salary for elected PCCs but this document here shows the proposed salary for PCCs by area, between £65,000 and £100,000 per annum.  That certainly seems to be a financial saving on what some of the Chief Execs were being paid, but not very much in the greater scheme of things.

Now these futile elections have cost the country between £75 and £100 million, to organise a shambles.  £75 million would have paid the salaries of nearly 2,150 constables for a year.  £100 million would have paid for closer to 3,000 constables for a year.

I have been reliably informed that these PCCs will have a team and a crime panel behind them, so they will be a bit like a Police Authority really.

So this very much begs the question “Why?”

Possible answers include

  • To make policing more localised and accountable
  • To save money
  • To identify a scapegoat rather than central government when it all goes belly up, and it might
  • Any other reason you can think of.

So, as I see it we have spent between £75 and £100 million pounds to swap an unelected Chief Executive for an elected Police and Crime Commissioner.

Will it really make a tangible difference?  Probably not.

Did the great British public understand what was happening?  Definitely not.

Has it all been worth it?  Almost certainly not.

I genuinely hope that something good and positive arises from the ashes of local Police Authorities, but I won’t be lying awake at night waiting for it.

My Old Friend IDS Has Done It Again

Iain Duncan Smith, IDS, (or IBS to his friends) has excelled himself once more.  His Department is completely and utterly incompetent and he should fall on his Biro, that he’s probably claimed on expenses anyway.  just as an aside he claimed (and was paid) almost £91 for some Banner Pens. He must write a lot.

You don’t need me to remind you what a shit-storm there has been lately about a  certain organisation seemingly fudging its official figures, and how they have had their ‘kitemark’ revoked as they cannot currently be relied upon.

You would think, would you not, that in the light of that any Government Department releasing some official figures would double check them for accuracy. Wouldn’t you? Or is it just me?

Then I found this headline;

Universal credit claimants not counted in jobless figures, says Labour

It would appear to an old duffer like me that the government have made fudging their figures so bloody complicated that they don’t even understand how to do it themselves.

For as long as I can remember there has been a seemingly endless see-saw of figures between Unemployed and Incapacitated.  Depending upon the government of the day, their colour and this week’s message people have been swapped between lists in order to get one or the other looking better. Am I being too cynical, because that’s EXACTLY how it looks to me in Angry Towers.

Errors by the Department for Work and Pensions have meant claimants are being excluded from official unemployment figures.  The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which publishes unemployment figures, said the DWP had not been able to supply it with information in a way that has allowed Universal Credit claimants to be counted.

The shadow work and pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves said “If David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith can’t ensure UC claimants are included on official unemployment figures, how can we have any confidence in their ability to deliver this flagship project?  There are now serious questions about whether the government even knows how many people are being left off official unemployment figures.”

The fact that some Universal Credit claimants are working is neither here nor there. The DWP clearly doesn’t have a database which is capable of separating them out, schoolboy error.

In a period when HMG has severely criticised the Police and its Stats you really would think they would get it right. Stat Fudging on an Imperial Scale.

Roll on 2015.

Iain-Duncan-Smith-3002319

Iain Duncan Smith DWP

Iain Duncan Smith

It’s Been A Funny Old Week

Not that I’m laughing, it’s just that I can’t quite compare it to any other week, some good, some bad.

It started off on Monday with the promise that someone from the Dyfed Powys PCC’s office would phone me to discuss my disappointment at being ineligible to apply for a voluntary role with their force.  Well I waited and I waited, no phone call, so I gave up. Late on Tuesday afternoon my mobile sprang into life and lo and behold it was said PCC’s office.  I had previously voiced my disappointment at not being eligible to apply for a voluntary job as an Animal Lay Visitor (Police Dogs and Horses) on the grounds that I was a retired Police Officer.  After about 5 minutes of talking to this lady it became apparent that she was talking about a position on the Residents Panel. As I’m not a resident of Dyfed Powys it was sort of irrelevant to me, so I pointed out that she’s got the wrong job.  I pointed out to her that the job application pack stated that serving (understandable) and former Police Officers were not eligible to apply, and would not be appointed.  She explained to me that this was in order to assure the public of total Independence on the part of the Lay Visitor.  I then pointed out to her that the two Application packs for Residents Panel, and Lay Custody Visitor only excluded serving Police Officers (again understandable) and NOT former Police Officers. Surely Independence was as important re Custody Lay Visitors if not more so.  She assured me that this appeared to be a mistake and the Job Application Packs would have to be ‘tweaked’ to include former Police Officers as ineligible as well.  Needless to say by the time I got off the phone I was mighty peeved. I was actually quite offended that without seeing my CV, without the benefit of an interview, I had been stereotyped as someone who would not be seen as Independent, and presumably as being incapable of being Independent. Utilising the ancient art of rubbing salt into the wound they later recirculated the same job vacancies emphasising that they would like applications from Solicitors.  I gave up at that point and made a brew.

Then we had Mrs Theresa May’s decision/agreement not to introduce Compulsory Severance “for now“.  “I have decided to accept the Tribunal’s recommendation not to implement measures to introduce compulsory severance at this time.

“However, this remains a reform that I believe government and the police should continue to consider. I have written to the Police Negotiating Board (PNB) to explain my decision in further detail.”

Then she went on to kick the officers on Restricted Duties; the Tribunal accepted a varied definition on Winsor’s Recommendation 39 from the Official Side of the PNB. This means that officers who are unable to undertake “the full range of duties of a police officer” will be regarded as being on restricted duty.

As a result, officers on restricted duties who are not fully deployable after one year should face a pay cut of around £2,922.

But the good news is that it has been alleged that she has told Tom Winsor NOT to wear his ridiculous fancy dress outfit at the National Police Memorial Day events ever again. It remains to be seen if he he dusts it off and brings it out again for any other occasion.

Fast Forward to Friday night and a discussion about Advanced Drivers and Fast Cars.  I cannot believe what I was being told about what some Forces are doing in cutting back the number of Advanced Drivers (and cars) from their strengths.  One officer even told me that some Forces even have “No Pursuit Capability”.  What kind of nonsense is this?  I thought the Front Line was being Protected?  Is being an active Advanced Driver not Front Line Policing?  Skills will be lost, officers will be demotivated and the public will suffer. As somebody said to me last night, “it’s not about the toys, it’s about retaining skills” and hence the service to the public.  I intend to do some digging around numbers of Advanced Drivers and see what pops up.

Finally (mind you the week isn’t over yet) as I was trying to block out the noise of the wind and the rain and get some sleep, news came in that Mental Health Cop’s twitter account and Blog had been suspended, seemingly as part of an investigation by West Midlands Police about their use.  I haven’t seen every single Tweet or Blog he wrote so I can’t really comment with any authority, but the feedback coming in last night and this morning was that this was one of THE most informative and well-used Twitter accounts and blogs of them all. Serving Police Officers and Members of the Public alike hold them in high esteem, and he seems to be the “Go To Guy” for any Police related Mental Health issues.

Well, let’s see what next week holds shall we?

ADDENDUM

And I haven’t forgotten the topsy turvy world of PC James Patrick.  He was told this week that he no longer faces a charge of Gross Misconduct, ‘merely’ a charge of ‘simple’ Misconduct now.   In one way that’s good news, but it is a bit of a double-edged sword, and if you go right back to the very beginnings there remain some unanswered legal questions that make me doubt whether the Met DPS has lost its collective marbles. James knows my views and I won’t repeat them here, but it’s added to a really ‘odd’ week for us all.

A Complete Military History Of France

Right you lot, time for some humour, I’ve been miserable long enough, and what better target than those pesky Frenchies?

This was not my research, it is that of someone else (an American I believe), I do hope that I haven’t breached any copyright (no infringement intended), but in light of yesterday’s defeat in the 6 Nations match between England & France it’s way too good to be ignored. Those of you who know me personally will know that this fits entirely with my sense of humour, and as I did live in France for a while I’m using that as a justification for reproducing it.

The French are such a valiant nation that it seems only right and proper somehow to celebrate their achievements over the years, so I began with a quick Google search

French Military Victories
French Military Victories

So here they are, I know that I have a reader in France, I hope he/she enjoys my celebration of France’s achievements across time, and I’m quite convinced that my Belgian reader will smile a little too;

Gallic Wars
– Lost. In a war whose ending foreshadows the next 2000 years of French history, France is conquered by of all things, an Italian. [Or at this time in history, a Roman ]

Hundred Years War
– Mostly lost, saved at last by female schizophrenic who inadvertently creates The First Rule of French Warfare; “France’s armies are victorious only when not led by a Frenchman.” Sainted.

Italian Wars
– Lost. France becomes the first and only country to ever lose two wars when fighting Italians.

Wars of Religion
– France goes 0-5-4 against the Huguenots

Thirty Years War
– France is technically not a participant, but manages to get invaded anyway. Claims a tie on the basis that eventually the other participants started ignoring her.

War of Revolution
– Tied. Frenchmen take to wearing red flowerpots as chapeaux.

The Dutch War
– Tied

War of the Augsburg League/King William’s War/French and Indian War
– Lost, but claimed it as a tie. Three ties in a row induces deluded Frogophiles the world over to label the period as the height of French military power.

War of the Spanish Succession
– Lost. The War also gave the French their first taste of a Marlborough, which they have loved ever since.

American Revolution
– In a move that will become quite familiar to future Americans, France claims a win even though the English colonists saw far more action. This is later known as “de Gaulle Syndrome”, and leads to the Second Rule of French Warfare; “France only wins when America does most of the fighting.”

French Revolution
– Won, primarily due the fact that the opponent was also French.

The Napoleonic Wars
– Lost. Temporary victories (remember the First Rule!) due to leadership of a Corsican, who ended up being no match for a British footwear designer.

The Franco-Prussian War
– Lost. Germany first plays the role of drunk Frat boy to France’s ugly girl home alone on a Saturday night.

World War I
– Tied and on the way to losing, France is saved by the United States [Entering the war late]. Thousands of French women find out what it’s like to not only sleep with a winner, but one who doesn’t call her “Fraulein.” Sadly, widespread use of condoms by American forces forestalls any improvement in the French bloodline.

World War II
– Lost. Conquered French liberated by the United States and Britain just as they finish learning the Horst Wessel Song.

War in Indochina
– Lost. French forces plead sickness; take to bed with the Dien Bien Flu

Algerian Rebellion
– Lost. Loss marks the first defeat of a western army by a Non-Turkic Muslim force since the Crusades, and produces the First Rule of Muslim Warfare; “We can always beat the French.” This rule is identical to the First Rules of the Italians, Russians, Germans, English, Dutch, Spanish, Vietnamese and Esquimaux.

War on Terrorism
– France, keeping in mind its recent history, surrenders to Germans and Muslims just to be safe. Attempts to surrender to Vietnamese ambassador fail after he takes refuge in a McDonald’s.

The question for any country silly enough to count on the French should not be “Can we count on the French?”, but rather “How long until France collapses?”

“Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. All you do is leave behind a lot of noisy baggage.”

Or, better still, the quote from Wall Street Journal: “They’re there when they need you.”

With only an hour and a half of research, Jonathan Duczkowski provided the following losses:

Norse invasions, 841-911.
After having their way with the French for 70 years, the Norse are bribed by a French King named Charles the Simple (really!) who gave them Normandy in return for peace. Normans proceed to become just about the only positive military bonus in France’s [favour] for next 500 years.

Andrew Ouellette posts this in response:

1066 A.D. William The Conquerer Duke and Ruler of France Launches the Largest Invasion in the history of the world no other was as large until the same trip was taken in reverse on June 6th 1944 William Fights Harold for the Throne of England Which old king Edward rightfully left to William but Harold Usurped the throne Will fights the Saxons (English)wins and the French Rule England for the Next 80 Years. then the French start the largest building and economic infrastructure since the fall of the Roman Empire the Norman Economy skyrockets and the Normans inadvertently start England to become a major world Power Vive La France-

Matt Davis posts this in response to Andrew Ouellette above:

Oh dear. We seem to have overlooked some basic facts. Firstly, Philip the First (1060 – 1108) was King of France at the time of the Norman invasion of 1066 – William was Duke of Normandy and, incidentally, directly descended from the Vikings. William was, therefore, as alien to France as the experience of victory. Since Philip did not invade England, the victory at Hastings was Norman – not French. Normandy may be a part of France now but it most certainly wasn’t in 1066. Therefore, William’s coronation as King of England had nothing whatsoever to do with the French. As usual, they were nowhere near the place when the fighting was going on. The mistaken belief that 1066 was a French victory leads to the Third Rule of French Warfare; “When incapable of any victory whatsoever – claim someone else’s”.

Mexico, 1863-1864.
France attempts to take advantage of Mexico’s weakness following its thorough thrashing by the U.S. 20 years earlier (“Halls of Montezuma”). Not surprisingly, the only unit to distinguish itself is the French Foreign Legion (consisting of, by definition, non-Frenchmen). Booted out of the country a little over a year after arrival.

Panama jungles 1881-1890.
No one but nature to fight, France still loses; canal is eventually built by the U.S. 1904-1914.

Napoleonic Wars.
Should be noted that the Grand Armee was largely (~%50) composed of non-Frenchmen after 1804 or so. Mainly disgruntled minorities and anti-monarchists. Not surprisingly, these performed better than the French on many occasions.

Haiti, 1791-1804.
French defeated by rebellion after sacrificing 4,000 Poles to yellow fever. Shows another rule of French warfare; when in doubt, send an ally.

India, 1673-1813.
British were far more charming than French, ended up victors. Therefore the British are well known for their tea, and the French for their whine (er, wine…). Ensures 200 years of bad teeth in England.

Barbary Wars, middle ages-1830.
Pirates in North Africa continually harass European shipping in Meditteranean. France’s solution: pay them to leave us alone. America’s solution: kick their asses (“the Shores of Tripoli”). [America’s] first overseas victories, won 1801-1815.

1798-1801, Quasi-War with U.S.
French privateers (semi-legal pirates) attack U.S. shipping. U.S. fights France at sea for 3 years; French eventually cave; sets precedent for next 200 years of Franco-American relations.

Moors in Spain, late 700s-early 800s.
Even with Charlemagne leading them against an enemy living in a hostile land, French are unable to make much progress. Hide behind Pyrennees until the modern day.

French-on-French losses (probably should be counted as victories too, just to be fair):

1208: Albigenses Crusade, French massacred by French.
When asked how to differentiate a heretic from the faithful, response was “Kill them all. God will know His own.” Lesson: French are badasses when fighting unarmed men, women and children.

St. Bartholomew Day Massacre, August 24, 1572.
Once again, French-on-French slaughter.

Third Crusade.
Philip Augustus of France throws hissy-fit, leaves Crusade for Richard the Lion Heart to finish.

Seventh Crusade.
St. Louis of France leads Crusade to Egypt. Resoundingly crushed.

[Eighth] Crusade.
St. Louis back in action, this time in Tunis. See Seventh Crusade.

Also should be noted that France attempted to hide behind the Maginot line, sticking their head in the sand and pretending that the Germans would enter France that way. By doing so, the Germans would have been breaking with their traditional route of invading France, entering through Belgium (Napoleonic Wars, Franco-Prussian War, World War I, etc.). French ignored this though, and put all their effort into these defences.

Thomas Whiteley has submitted this addition to me:

Seven year War 1756-1763
Lost: after getting hammered by Frederick the Great of Prussia (yep, the Germans again) at Rossbach, the French were held off for the remainder of the War by Frederick of Brunswick and a hodge-podge army including some Brits. War also saw France kicked out of Canada (Wolfe at Quebec) and India (Clive at Plassey).

Richard Mann, an American in France wants to add the following:

The French consider the departure of the French from Algeria in 1962-63, after 130 years on colonialism, as a French victory and especially consider C. de Gaulle as a hero for ‘leading’ said victory over the unwilling French public who were very much against the departure. This ended their colonialism. About 2 million ungrateful Algerians lost their lives in this shoddy affair.

So there you have it, if they want to beat us at rugby, then they should expect some stick in reply.

The Crucifixion Cycle (Revisited)

Apologies, I first posted this on another site about 6 months ago, but with the fallout from #Plebgate and the really dodgy and unfortunately timed ‘leaking’ of the Operation Tiberius report (a 2002 report that has no business being in the hands of the media, hopefully an investigation into its leaking will follow)  it seemed like an appropriate time to revisit it. If you’ve read it before, there’s nothing new. If you haven’t read it before you might find it of some interest.

And so it has started.

In truth it probably started a year or two ago, but various distractions have kept our blinkers in place.

The Crucifixion Cycle

Stage 1

Slash Resources

Government slashes the resources of the public body in question.  Be it NHS, Armed Forces, Police, Education, Coastguard, Fire Service, Probation…..the list just goes on and on.  They have all had their resources slashed to the bone (and possibly deeper) by this failing coalition government in the name of Austerity. Be under NO illusions, more cuts are coming, Gideon says so.

Stage 2

Highlight The Failings

Next Step is to commission a report highlighting the failings of said public body. Policy Exchange (other Think Tanks are widely available) are normally good at issuing reports that seem to support government’s plan of action.

Stage 3

Get the Press to Crucify the Public Body for Their Failings

Certain sectors of the British Press seem only too willing to publish articles, splashed across their front pages, or 1st item on the 10 o’clock news etc, crucifying the public body for their failings. They never seem to mention slashed resources at this stage, just how serious and awful the failings have been, whip up some public backlash, and launch a “heads should roll” theme to move it forward.

Police and NHS are currently suffering at the hands of Stage 3.  Whose turn next?

Stage 4

Privatisation.

These public bodies can’t be trusted to organise a beer-drinking event in a brewery.  Just look at the headlines at Stage 3. I know how to sort this out, we’ll privatise them.  We’ve got some Lords with interests in suitable private companies, let’s give them a shot at sorting it all out, perfect solution.

Am I wrong?

Is this NOT how it happens?

Where are you on the Wheel of Fortune?

Have you been crucified yet?

Got an iPhone 4S?

Well I don’t, I don’t own any  of their products, but I know a man who does.

About a year ago a new ios upgrade was released for the iPhone 4S.  His was on the Vodafone network but I don’t suppose that matters very much.  Having installed the ios upgrade he noted that the little radio button for turning wifi on and off was greyed out so it had become impossible to connect to a wifi network as it couldn’t be turned on

He spent ages googling the problem, discovering all sorts of ‘fixes’ suggested by folk, none of which worked for him. Then he spent hours on the phone to Apple trying to find a solution and was told “Oh we know about that, your wifi antenna has come dislodged, take it into an Apple store and we can fix that for you for £100”

Needless to say he didn’t because a) It coincided with the release of the new ios and b) it coincided with the release of the iPhone 5.

So, he reluctantly threw the phone in its box in the corner and bought an iPhone 5.

He recently had the idea of selling his old phone on eBay, and realised it would be worth more if the wifi was fixed, so off-a-googling he went again and found something on YouTube.  Not only did this fix work, but allegedly it has been posted on Apple’s website several times but they keep deleting it.

The fix is simply this;

  1. Borrow Mum’s hairdryer (honestly)
  2. Use the hairdryer to heat up your iPhone until the overheating warning appears in the screen
  3. Turn off the hairdryer and allow the phone to cool
  4. Reboot the Phone
  5. Voila, the wifi radio button now works again and wifi can be turned on and off.

This is apparently some technical issue concerning the chip, heating it up forces the phone to recognise the chip again, and all is well.  A certain hard-fruit company is aware of this (allegedly) but seemingly don’t want you to know.

If you have this problem it’s worth a try, not much too lose really.  I know it works, I watched it happen.

Happy Hairdrying.

A Summary Execution? I Think Not

Today is not a day for ranting, today is a day for calm reflection, so I will do my best.

Yesterday we received the ‘Conclusion’ of the Mark Duggan Inquest. Some will be satisfied with the Conclusion, some will obviously not be, but I don’t suppose anyone is ‘Happy’ with it.

I shall make very few comments about Mr Duggan, I don’t really know enough about him, the person.

Personally, I think Lawful Killing is the correct conclusion. What has dismayed/disgusted/appalled me (delete as applicable) are the comments from people who should know better.  Just for now I’m prepared to excuse reaction and comments from the immediate Duggan family, it must be a very hard time for them.

The Duggan family solicitor however, is much more difficult to explain. If she wants to stand outside the Royal Courts of Justice and pronounce that Mark Duggan was ‘Murdered’ by the Police I think that is a disgraceful way to behave and ‘Unprofessional’ is as mild as I can get. Ten good men and true have listened to the evidence, they have asked questions, they have been provided with answers, and finally they have pondered and considered, finally coming to a majority conclusion 8-2 in favour of Lawful Killing, with the other 2 in favour of an Open Conclusion. Not one of them was in favour of Unlawful Killing. If the Duggans’ solicitor is not happy with that maybe she’s in the wrong job; that’s how Justice works in this country.

I then had to put up with Lee Jasper on Sky News. I haven’t a clue what he was on but I’ll have a pint of it any time. I had already had to challenge him earlier. On 18th December, whilst the Inquest was still hearing evidence, Lee Jasper Tweeted this:-

“Lee Jasper@LeeJasper 18 Dec

@MikePannett @MayorofLondon @metpoliceuk The summary execution of unarmed Mark Duggan cannot be tolerated whatever our concerns about gangs”

He had already decided that this was a summary execution, even though the Coroner’s Jury were yet to reach their Conclusion.

I do not think that this is helpful to anybody.

Later that month he also Tweeted this absolute classic

“Lee Jasper@LeeJasper 28 Dec

@nickareay @OliverKamm Black people in UK can’t be racist.”  Says who Lee? You?

Diane Abbott MP is another on my shitlist after Tweeting “If the Duggan jury believe that he did not have a gun in his hand when he was shot, how can they find it was a lawful killing?” Someone really ought to explain to her how having a gun in your hand is not the only permissible reason for the use of lethal force. Not at all responsible from an elected politician.

I could go on forever, but I won’t. Firearms officers are not automatons, they are highly trained professionals who do the very best they can under impossible conditions. If Duggan had not been shot and then went on to produce a 2nd weapon and injure members of the public, then the Police would be at fault in the eyes of some for NOT shooting him. I ask all of the critics “Would you like to be in the position of deciding whether or not to pull the trigger?”  Would you? Could you? It truly is a job like no other.

Mark Duggan always had the option to surrender peacefully and if he had he would still be alive today. Here endeth my non-rant.

#AllInThisTogether? Like Hell We Are

The Electorate Have A Long Collectiive Memory
Your Day Will Come Camoron

Yesterday was a Thinking Day at Angry Towers, today is more of a Doing Day, so yesterday’s news hasn’t gone away overnight, time to process it.

At first I rushed to my calendar to check that it wasn’t April 1st. Can MPs really be so insensitive as to award themselves an 11% pay rise? My calendar merely confirmed that this was December 2013, mid term for the ConDem Coalition, the government that NOBODY voted for, and YES they really could be that insensitive. Cynical, Contemptuous, Arrogant, Uncaring. These are all alternative words that sprang to my mind.

The more I processed the news the more it sunk in. The government really do think that we, the electorate, are STUPID.

Parliamentary watchdog IPSA is set to recommend a rise of £7,600 to £74,000, to come in after the 2015 election.

IPSA does not need to get the agreement of Parliament to bring in the changes.

The Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, has condemned the11% pay rise.

Mr Alexander told Andrew Marr it would be “wholly inappropriate for MPs to get such a large pay rise at a time when every other public sector worker sees their pay rises capped at one per cent”.

And there is the crux of the problem.  If it’s so inappropriate to receive this pay rise, and they really care about the Public Sector and other workers with capped pay rises then why the hell don’t they just decline IPSA’s very kind offer “No Thanks”, there you are, easy wasn’t it?  The proposal by IPSA to award MPs this lavish increase from 2015 at a time of continuing austerity has been disowned by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg.

This is the bit I really like:-

Ironically MPs are powerless to prevent IPSA imposing the increase other than to appeal to it to heed public opinion and rethink its plans – or vote to abolish the body.

What a load of bollocks.

The government was ‘powerless’ to change pension Terms and Conditions for existing members of a scheme. I’m sure ALL Police Officers will remember that one. So what happened? Camoron and co changed the law, that’s what happened.

It’s not like MPs even need this pay rise. They’re not the poor hard done-by souls they would have you believe. Yesterday’s Independent included this absolute pearl

MPs' Salaries 1996 to date
MPs’ Salaries 1996 to date

Just compare that to what’s happened to YOUR salaries. How do they compare?

So come on Camoron, show us what you’re REALLY made of and change the law to allow you to decline this generous offer if you truly do oppose it. Failure to do so will merely confirm waht we al;ready know about you, your cronies, and your policies.

A ConDem government, a Force For Good and Fairness to all, or

#SnoutsInTheTrough
#SnoutsInTheTrough

And finally, before I go, I’ll leave you with this thought;

More working households were living in poverty in the UK last year than non-working ones – for the first time, a charity has reported.

Just over half of the 13 million people in poverty – surviving on less than 60% of the national median (middle) income – were from working families, it said.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation said low pay and part-time work had prompted an unprecedented fall in living standards.

#AllInThisTogether? or #AllInTheShitTogether?

A Guest Blog – Response Times and Stats

Recent articles in the press have prompted one of my readers to submit a blog to me for publication anonymously.

The author is a serving Police Officer and wishes to remain anonymous for obvious reasons, but that does not detract from the story they have to tell.

Because they are currently serving their information is current, their feelings about the subject matter are real and their story is reproduced unedited in any way.

Please take a moment to read and take in the significance of what is being said here.  Thank You

Policing is a constantly changing business, but some of the things that don’t change are response times to incidents.

For the uninitiated, the incidents that the police attend are graded according to perceived threat/risk/importance etc.
To keep things simple, I will refer to these as Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3. Grade 1 being the most important, and which the police must attend within 10 or 15 minutes, depending on which force you work for. Grade 2 incidents usually have a time limit of an hour in which the police have to attend, and Grade 3 incidents should be attended within 24 hours.

Police forces are measured on their ability to attend incidents within the allotted time.

Recently there has been much talk about the recently released crime figures, and how crime is down with fewer officers. This has made the government very happy, but there are those that have stated that the figures are down because fewer people are bothering to report crime. Either way, it makes the Government look good.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May has stated that she wants to abolish targets, and I’m all for that. However, the Senior Management Teams have been target orientated for so long that I think that they forget what policing is all about.

Recently, officers from within Bedfordshire Police have been told not to mention to the public, anything about the how the cuts have affected how they work. Yet the police officers are constantly being told to be honest and truthful at all times. Does this mean that they have to lie to the public? Or just not mention the cuts?

It’s no great secret within the police, that figures have been ‘manipulated’, if you like. I won’t elaborate further, but it will come as no shock to any serving (or retired) police officer.

Are the recent crime figures to be believed then?

Well, before the advent of AVLS and ARLS, automatic vehicle location system and automatic resource location system, (a gps tracker fitted to vehicle and personal radios which can be monitored on a screen, and shows the viewer the location of an officer or vehicle), officers had to state when they had arrived at an incident via their radio.

Grade 1 incidents are usually not a problem for forces, as whenever one comes in, people will drop what they’re doing and attend within the allotted time. Grade 3 incidents usually aren’t a problem either, because they can usually be attended within 24 hours.

Grade 2 incidents can be a bit of a problem, for all sorts of reasons. A high number of Grade 1 incidents, not enough staff, staff tied up with a major incident etc.

I know of officers in at least one force that were asked by their supervisors to state that they were already at a Grade 2 incident before they arrived there, just to meet targets (all before AVLS/ARLS), and in this respect, the police didn’t really help themselves. It made it look like they were coping, and meeting targets. And this after the cuts had started to take effect. In this respect, they weren’t helping themselves.

What some of the officers didn’t realise was that they were leaving themselves wide open for disciplinary action if something went wrong. Imagine, you say you’re at an address before you get there, say, 10 minutes before you get there. But 5 minutes before you actually get to the address, you have a traffic accident, and knock someone over. Would the people who asked you to say you were already at the address back you up, if the Senior Management Team decided to discipline you because you said that you were somewhere you weren’t? And effectively lied?

Is it worth it, just to meet a target and make the bosses look good?